Love, Simon

Nick Robinson in Love, Simon (2018)Love, Simon is another high-school romantic comedy, but one that pushes the genre further than most have. Simon is a closeted homosexual high school student with a group of very pleasant friends and a loving family. However, nobody, including his family and friends, have any idea that he is gay. While Simon lives his life in secrecy of his sexuality, an anonymous student who goes to the same high school, opens about his sexuality on social media for the entire school to see, a way to get his feelings out without revealing his identity. Calling himself Blue, he states that he is homosexual. Simon, looking for someone to talk about his secret with, sends Blue an email and the two develop an online relationship without knowing who either of them truly are. Blue could be the boy he made friends with at the Halloween party, or he could be that boy that gave him glances in the hallway.

This film has a lot of heart and shows us the struggle of opening up about sexuality to your peers, friends and family. Throughout the film, we are constantly teased about who Blue may be, along with Simon who is also trying to figure it out. The film manipulates the audience a bit into thinking it’s this guy and then that guy. It can be a bit frustrating, but that just shows how well directed this film is. Love, Simon keeps the audience just as frustrated as Simon is as we somehow both go through this struggle together. The film makes us empathize with Simon as we watch him go through his high school life, experiencing his experiences along with him.

Nick Robinson gives his best performance yet as Simon. His range of emotions shows audiences how great of a new coming actor he is. He starred in Jurassic World just a few years ago and has already climbed his way to better acting. His parents are played well by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel. They’re loving parents, but are still difficult to come out to, especially his father who makes constant homophobic jokes, while not really meaning them. His friends are played by Katherine Longford (Leah), Alexandra Shipp (Abby), and Jorge Lendenborg Jr (Nick). These performances are all great as well.

His friends add a lot of narrative to the film. Not only do we follow Simon’s life and struggles but we also follow his friends’ lives as well. There’s a lot of “who likes who” scenarios in this film, and if you’re one who is easily annoyed by that, you may want to skip, because it is everywhere in Love, Simon. His friends have interconnected crushes that keep things complicated and the annoying Martin (played by Logan Miller) complicates things even more, acting as the reason for how things eventually play out. While Martin is an easily infuriating character, his story and his effects on the characters are the backbone for this film. He is easily one of the most interesting elements Love, Simon has to offer.

Given, that this is a high school romantic comedy, Love, Simon was much better than expected. This could have been one of those films that tried to be funny by constantly referring to social media and other things that the kids are into these days. While, the script does give us some of that on occasion, it doesn’t take over the movie. Love, Simon doesn’t try too hard and it gives us a simple and touching message about love and coming out.

Grade: A-

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual references, language and teen partying

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